Hyatt Rolls Out Group Billing Technology - Business Travel News

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Hyatt Rolls Out Group Billing Technology

October 16, 2012 - 02:00 PM ET

By Michael B. Baker

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts has developed a real-time billing and tracking system for group events that is expected to be in place at all North American hotels by year-end.

The system replaces the traditional event bill—usually a large paper folio containing a variety of bills in a variety of formats—with an interactive PDF. The new document will include a table of contents, general summaries and hyperlinks for easier navigation, said Hyatt vice president of catering and convention services Steve Enselein.

Hyatt developed the tool by pulling together various systems and further automating its billing process. At a banquet, for example, billing details under the old system had to be entered after the event into an onsite kiosk, which left a large margin for error, Enselein said. "Convention services was acting like accountants, and meeting planners couldn't see the bill until after the event," he said.

With the new billing system, planners on a daily basis can monitor and reconcile costs. The bill also can be exported into Excel, Enselein added.

Hyatt built the system by consulting with meeting planners and began using it in June at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore. Currently 95 of 120 hotels in North America are using it, and the rest will adopt it during the next few months.

Currency issues at Caribbean hotels is one reason for the delay, though those properties should be using the system within the next few weeks, Enselein said.

In the next phase, sometime early next year, billing will move to the cloud, allowing planners to interact with their bills. Hyatt also would like to provide an ability to interact with expense reporting tools, though such development remains in the discussion stage, he said.

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